This week was atypical. Due to an emergency, I had to take care of a family member and wasn’t able to keep my one-hour sessions every day. Out of six days (the day I take my chess lesson I don’t do any practice), I practiced for an hour just one day. One other day I practiced 40 minutes, one day I did 10 minutes, and three days I didn’t practice at all. This week I didn’t feel like playing blitz, so I played just a handful of games. However, I did watch more advanced players through Lichess TV. On Lichess TV you can watch live games of the highest-rated people who are playing at the moment on the platform in each category (blitz, bullet, etc.).[Read more…] about Chess in Italian (Week 4) Handling the Unexpected
During this week I started to focus more on a few endings. I noticed that I was getting good positions out of the opening and the middle game. The biggest difference in performance and many losses I had came from poor ending technique. I mean, my ending technique is not terrible, but there’s room for improvement. Even on fundamental stuff! So, I decided to work on this weakness focusing on pawn endings and rook endings. I think that will be plenty for the next two months.
At the beginning of each study session, I practiced a couple Puzzle Rush exercises on Chess.com. Basically, these are easier tactics intended to be answered very quickly (my usual pace is around 2 seconds per move). The goal is to be able to see easy tactics on the fly, which comes very handy in blitz games.[Read more…] about Chess in Italian (Week 3) Puzzle Rush & Endings
It’s been already two weeks since I started studying chess. During this period my rating on Lichess went up and down but stayed pretty much the same (around 2190). I’m playing mostly 3+2 and 5+3 blitz games. I continued learning and studying every day for at least one hour a day. Some days I would go over for an extra 15 or 20 minutes. Also, the day I take lessons I don’t do any formal study. I’m applying the same principle I would when practicing piano and taking lessons (no practice on lesson day).
Even though my rating hovered around 2200, I noticed some slight changes in my game. After focusing hard to find good moves during my daily studies, that thinking mode started to bleed into the blitz sessions. Every day, at the beginning of each study session, I also did a series of tactic exercises arranged by theme: checkmate, discovered attack, discovered attack with check, double attack, absolute pin, skewer, discovered check, double-check, and tornado. I already knew all of these, but drilling them consistently was nice. Also, it was fun learning all the names in Italian: scacco matto, attacco di scoperta, attacco doppio, inchiodatura assoluta, infilata, scacco di scoperta, scacco doppio e tornado. 🤓[Read more…] about Chess in Italian (Week 2) Chess Expertise & Vocabulary
I started learning chess seriously around 20 years ago. During high school, I read a few chess books and went over hundreds and hundreds of games played by chess Grandmasters (GM). At the same time, I played rapid online chess (blitz) on websites such as Yahoo! Games. In blitz games, each player has less than 10 minutes to make all his moves. Some examples of blitz time: 2+0 (two minutes without increment), 3+2 (three minutes with a two-second increment after each move), 5+3 (five minutes with a three-second increment after each move).
Even though I enjoyed learning and studying the game, during a period of five or six years (my “formal training”) I only took lessons with a private tutor for a few months. I did most of my learning on my own, reading books, and going over Chessbase annotated games and tutorials. Also, I never played a rated (ELO) tournament. Later on, in my early thirties (as I’m writing this in 2021 I’m 34 years old) I would participate in a handful of semi-rapid chess tournaments that started and finished on the same day.
I remember the first time I felt I owned my own learning. It was almost 10 years ago. I was studying piano at a local music conservatory, and I was assigned a program to learn during my first year. I wasn’t excited about most of the pieces, but that was what I was supposed to play. Right there I felt it was the opposite of what I had been doing before.
Before enrolling in the conservatory I had been learning piano on my own for 6-8 months. And I was the only one in charge. I decided which pieces I learned (regardless of the difficulty level or the period), how I learned them, how much time that would take, and when and where I would perform them. Everything was up to me. Until I started my ‘formal’ piano studies.[Read more…] about Owning Your Own Learning
Your goals are deeply connected to your social circles. All of us get inspiration and motivation by the example set by our friends, family, and other important people in our lives. Their actions, their way of thinking, their attitude, all of that affects us. Many people wrote about this, and it seems 100% true. We need to be wise about the people we spend a lot of time with. Why? Because they’re going to influence the course of our life.[Read more…] about Goals & Social Circles